26 September 2023

KOSOVO: Minorities shut out of bureaucracy

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Amanda Toska has two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree, and is pursuing a fourth — but so far the 32-year-old Pristina native has not been able to land a job in Kosovo’s Public Service.

She has applied for various positions within State institutions, including the Ministry of Health and the national public broadcaster, and has always been rejected.

“I suspect that the refusal of work is due to the fact that I belong to the Romany community, because I’ve always applied for positions for which I’m qualified,” Ms Toska (pictured) said.

“Where can you gain experience when there’s no opportunity for a job?”

She is one of thousands of frustrated job seekers from a woefully unemployed segment of the Balkans’ newest State since its declaration of sovereignty from Serbia 14 years ago.

What has received little attention in the former Serbian Province is its continuing problem with joblessness among smaller ethnic groups like the Romany, Ashkali, and Balkan Egyptian minorities.

Kosovo’s Constitution, adopted in 2008, prescribes that “the composition of the Civil Service shall reflect the diversity of the people of Kosovo”.

The country adopted a new law on the Public Service in 2010 that sought, in part, to standardise recruitment.

It required that 10 per cent of the jobs in national public institutions be filled by minorities, with additional quotas at more local levels dependent on the makeup of specific communities.

However, 12 years later, a local non-Government organisation advocating for social justice says just 113 of Kosovo’s 80,000 public-sector jobs are held by all three of the Romany, Ashkali, and Balkan Egyptian minorities combined.

The Ministry of the Interior admits it employs just 36 members of those minorities out of a staff of more than 13,000 people.

Officials acknowledge there’s a problem with more than 90 per cent of Roma, Ashkali, and Balkan Egyptians being jobless, while the unemployment figure for Kosovo’s larger minority communities of Serbs and Turks is high but less than half that figure, at 40 per cent.

Meanwhile, Ms Toska has vowed to keep up her pursuit of a job in Kosovo’s public sector, along with continuing her education.

Pristina, 22 September 2022

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